The National Athletic Trainers’ Association describes the certified athletic trainer as a highly educated and skilled professional specializing in athletic health care. In cooperation with physicians and other allied health personnel, the athletic trainer functions as an integral member of the athletic health care team in:
- secondary schools,
- colleges and universities,
- sports medicine clinics,
- professional sports programs,
- corporate health programs,
- health clubs,
- industrial health care programs and
- other athletic care settings.
Demand for athletic trainers
In today’s school environment, greater sports participation in athletics means greater potential for injury and a greater need for allied health professionals who specialize in preventative care of sports injuries. The athletic trainer plays a unique and important role in the health care system through preventing, recognizing, managing and rehabilitating sports injuries. In this role, the athletic trainer can help athletes avoid unnecessary medical treatment and disruption of normal daily activities.
The American Medical Association provides information, such as average salary and employment characteristics for athletic trainers. Specifically, the athletic trainer specializes in six practice areas, including:
- clinical evaluation and diagnosis;
- immediate care;
- treatment, rehabilitation and reconditioning;
- organization and administration; and
- professional responsibility.
As part of a complete health care team, the athletic trainer works under the direction of a licensed physician and in cooperation with other health care providers, athletic administrators, coaches and parents. The athletic trainer forms relationships with athlete individually and can therefore treat the athlete’s injury appropriately.
Typical day for an athletic trainer
The duties of an athletic trainer require extensive knowledge and strong decision making skills which are obtained through the athletic trainer’s educational and clinical experiences. An athletic trainer’s day, for example, may include these tasks:
- Preparing athletes for practice or competition including taping, bandaging, wrapping, and bracing.
- Evaluating injuries to decide if the athlete needs further medical treatment.
- Developing conditioning and injury rehabilitation programs.
Certification and licensing
Upon graduation, athletic training science students are eligible to sit for a Board of Certification Examination to become nationally certified athletic trainers and for state licensing in athletic training by the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners.